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CFP: What is Documentary?

2013 October 3
by Shared by Steve Rust

What is Documentary? Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow?

24-26 April 2014
U of Oregon | Portland, Oregon

Documentaries continue to play important roles in defining, exposing, and transforming social realities. Today, we are witnessing an explosion of documentary making enabled by new digital production and distribution technologies, even as traditional news media may seem compromised and in decline.

We will gather at the University of Oregon’s Portland campus from April 24-26, 2014, to explore the past, present and future of documentary in all its forms. The conference will feature a unique coalescing of media scholars and students, media professionals, independent media producers, government and community officials, as well as interested community groups and the public. The event will feature keynote speakers, roundtables, paper presentations, and screenings, in an attempt to answer questions about the changing nature of documentary.

We welcome proposals that address any and all forms of documentary – film, video, radio, audio, photography, print, digital media, online, etc. We especially welcome paper/presentation proposals on the following topics (as well as others):

  • How do we define documentary? by form? by content? by practice? by distribution outlets?
  • How is the history of documentary relevant to the 21st century?
  • What are the new forms of documentary?
  • How have digital technologies shaped/reshaped the production and distribution of documentaries?
  • What are the old and new theories that sustain or explain documentary practice?
  • What role should documentary media play in society?
  • Is reality television a new form of documentary?
  • Does user-generated communication and self-documentation change our understanding of documentary?
  • How do documentaries fit into media industries?
  • Are there new developments in the funding of documentaries?
  • What is the relationship of documentary and journalistic practices?
  • What is the role of documentary in social change/social movements?
  • How does documentary shape or anchor historical and collective memory?
  • How have new digital technologies affected the production/ distribution/reception of documentaries around the world?
  • How have indigenous societies used documentaries?

Send 250-word proposals by 1 November 2013, to:
Janet Wasko ( or Gabriela Martinez (
School of Journalism and Communication
University of Oregon

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